The Great Miracle Whip Versus Mayo Smackdown!

Mayo Smackdown

A year or two ago I was reading Danny Meyer’s book, Setting the Table. Danny is the renowned New York restaurateur known for everything from the high-end Union Square Grill and Gramercy Tavern to the down-and-dirty deliciousness of Blue Smoke and Shake Shack.

In his book, he writes about his childhood, and how he noticed that there was a difference in the types of families that preferred Miracle Whip or Hellmann’s Mayonnaise. As a Miracle Whip lover, I was intrigued. And yet, he said no more about it in his book.

Then, one day I happened to have the opportunity to meet him, and ask him my question. It was in the middle of lunch at the Gramercy Tavern, in front of a table of guests. “Danny!” I said, “I read your book, and you talk about the difference between people who like Miracle Whip over Hellmann’s, but you never say what that difference is. What is it?”

He blushed, and demurred. And right then and there, I knew. People who prefer Miracle Whip are the type of people who ask uncomfortable questions in public places…in other words, the socially less sophisticated. That’s me! In fact, I’m so Miracle Whip that even though I was mortified for a few days, I brought it up to him again the next time I ran into him at a party. I just can’t help myself. That’s why I’m sharing this embarrassing story with you!

So anyway, I want to take a vote. It’s time for the ultimate Miracle Whip versus mayo Smackdown. Which one will win? Vote now!

[poll id=”7″]
May the best condiment win…but for me, it will always be Miracle Whip.


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71 Responses to The Great Miracle Whip Versus Mayo Smackdown!

  1. Heather April 12, 2010 at 8:28 am #

    Got to have my MW. Even got my Danish husband hooked on it and now when he has his roast turkey sandwiches the weekend after Thanksgiving, if there’s no MW in the house he gets really cranky . . .

  2. Maggie April 12, 2010 at 8:28 am #

    Funny survey. Grew up with a mother who made her own mayo — remember the first time I had ‘Miracle Whip” at a friend’s house. I was taught to never be critical of a host’s food so had to discretely feed my sandwich to the dog! I thought a mistake had been made! (felt the same way about the ‘lunch meat!” )

  3. donna April 12, 2010 at 9:16 am #

    Great survey. I’m in a mixed marriage I like Hellmann’s only and my spouse loves miracle whip (yuk)! We even argued how to raise the children. I’m happy to report I won my kids love Hellmann’s mayonaise!

  4. Jill April 12, 2010 at 9:20 am #

    I grew up on MW; my new husby (18 yrs ago) wanted mayo. Shrug. Last summer I picked up some MW on a whim, and he asked where the awesomely delish new “mayo” had come from. Silly man.

  5. Laura B. April 12, 2010 at 9:41 am #

    Personally I can’t tolerate either. 🙂

  6. Michelle April 12, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    I grew up only knowing Miracle Whip. My mom is Japanese and prefers the sweeter taste. When I went to college, I discovered Hellman’s and I have been hooked ever since. My mom still makes the best potato salad using Miracle Whip though!

  7. Jean Nick April 12, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    Grew up in a Helmans’s-only (that Best Foods in the west) family and still relish it on sandwiches and artichokes! But I was introduced to MW on wedges of crisp iceberg lettuce in the lunch room in elementary school and was wowed, and revisit that occasionally too. Does it make me schizo to like both?

  8. Sue April 12, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    my family is Miracle Whip all the way…but I tend toward Mayo…that’s why I’m the black sheep of the family 🙂

  9. Mary Ann April 12, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    I, like Michelle, grew up only knowing Miracle Whip. My husband preferred Hellman’s mayo and since he used mayo more than I, I started buying that. Now I’m hooked on Hellman’s! But I can still enjoy my Mom’s potato salad made with Miracle Whip.

  10. Kelly April 12, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    I am the child of a Miracle Whip family, however my sister was greatly influenced by my grandmother who was a mayo person. For many years the thought of eating mayo would actually gross me out, but I have become somewhat of a convert in my adult life……..have learned to appreciate both. MW on a BLT is divine, sweet MW and that salty bacon on toasted bread is nothing but YUMMY!!! I say everyone keep enjoying whatever pleases your palate.

  11. Cyndie April 12, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    Ya know what….I like both…I think there is a time and place for each one of these. As a chef ..they make or break a dish! So…I would like to vote….but I think I’ve got to sit this one out an wait for the interesting turnout!

  12. Amy April 12, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    My boyfriend and I actually argue about this. And he refuses to pay for my MW when we are grocery shopping. If it’s his turn to buy, I still get to ring up a separate sale for the MW! It’s funny, I’ll eat both (is there something wrong with me?) but he is ADAMANTLY against MW. Wants it on a different shelf in the fridge – nowhere near his blessed Mayo! It’s actually become a joke with us, but until recently, I never really considered that it was even an issue, I just always ate whichever one was available. The one place I do prefer MW is in chicken salad – yummy!

  13. Liza (Good to Grow, in Albuquerque) April 12, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    I don’t think that liking mayo necessarily indicates a sophisticated palate, or that liking Miracle Whip means you’re unsophisticated. It’s just a matter of sweet vs non-sweet. Miracle Whip is sweet, mayo is not. I don’t like sweet condiments, so I prefer mayo. It’s the same reason I don’t like ketchup – tomatoes should not be sweet.

    Implying that people who like Miracle Whip are less sophisticated is pretty judgmental and frankly, narrow-minded. You’ve nothing to be embarrassed about – it’s how you were raised!

  14. Linda April 12, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    Mayo – real mayo, either homemade or Hellmans !
    Growing up I did not like coleslaw, potato salad, etc. After I was grown, I discovered that it was because my mother used Miracle Whip, and I don’t like it. Can’t stand MW.
    So even before I ever tasted real mayo, I disliked MW.

  15. Kathy April 12, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    I’m not a big mayo user by any means…but when I make a sandwich at home or make some potato salad, egg salad, whatever I prefer the real stuff. Because I’m “old” now I tend to use the ones that aren’t as “bad” for you…you know olive oil mayos!

  16. Judy April 12, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    I don’t actually like either one! But I love potato salad, chicken salad, etc. so I mix a little sweet pickle relish in mayo before I mix it with the other ingredients. BTW, I prefer using butter on my sandwiches . Guess makes me even more of a weirdo!

  17. Evelyn April 12, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    I probably use mayo 90% of the time, Love it!; then once in awhile MW tastes yummy too. When my sons were little I always put MW on their sandwiches for school. One day I was totally out so I used mayo and I thought ‘oh dear they probably won’t eat lunch’! When they came home from school they both were estatic and said they loved their sandwiches!they flipped, loved the taste. One became a 100% mayo only; the other likes it but always asks for MW first.

  18. maria (farm country kitchen) April 12, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    You guys are so funny and great! Thanks for voting (but no cheating and voting more than once!)

  19. Mark April 12, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    Absolutely MW — grew up on the stuff! It’s the glue that holds my potato salad ingredients together……..delicious.

  20. Gloria April 12, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    I like both. Miracle Whip for potato salad, deviled eggs, banana sandwiches and souse (I know–yuk, but I love it) sandwiches. Mayo for tuna salad and roast beef sandwiches.

  21. Terry Johnson April 12, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

    I always loved MW. My mother loved Hellman’s, but she would use MW in her carrot salad. I keep the two for my guests, not knowing which one they like best.

  22. boxcaranne April 12, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    Mayo in/on some dishes and MW definately in my coleslaw–can’t stand the mayo ones! My kids will only use MW-my dad only mayo–I say each to his own–as for sophistication–we are country/farm people at the root.

  23. Todd Knight April 12, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

    Hellmann’s Real Mayo! The texture and flavor just can’t be beat.

  24. Alice April 12, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    We are open minded people at our house, I eat Hellman’s (actually love Duke’s if I can find it ). My husband loves MW. We respect each other’s tastes and always have both available.

  25. Linda April 12, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    Growing up we ONLY had MW in the house – don’t think I ever had mayou ’til I was an adult. Now that I have my own kitchen and have become a cooking fiend it’s pretty much mayo all the way – except NOTHING does it for an egg salad like Miracle Whip!

  26. Larrry April 12, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

    I think this is a little like the low-fat vs “normal” salad dressings. Some people expect one to taste like the other, i.e. they expect MW to be a mayo and are disgusted with the taste. IF you approach it like using Italian dressing on your salad tonight, but Honey Dijon tomorrow, and maybe Thousand Island yesterday, and Vinagriette next week, MW and Mayo can both be good. They are just different.

  27. Tony April 12, 2010 at 7:41 pm #

    They both sound absolutely foul!

  28. Sheryle April 12, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    I think there is something to this….Hubby is MW all the way and often makes uncouth (Embarrassing!) comments in public. I, on the other hand, prefer Mayo (except as mentioned for “salads” and such), and I DON’T ask the fat lady when the baby is due! Well, I did once…maybe that is when I started hitting the mayo? Anyway, am I a snob? Pass me the Grey Poupon…I’ll let ya know later 😉

    (PS…I HATE said Poupon!)

  29. Lisa from PA April 12, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

    Mayonnaise ruled in our house growing up, and still does in my own household. And it has to be Hellman’s, and it goes on practically everything. No sophistication here – leftover spaghetti, baked beans, rice. (My husband was horrified) : ) I was surprised at how many responders mentioned Hellman’s specifically. MW is toooo sweet. The other condiment that my parents gave us was Sandwich spread. Does anyone remember having that? It’s like mayo with sweet chopped pickle relish mixed in. My parents (in Maine) still have it on a sandwich.

  30. bonnie April 12, 2010 at 11:44 pm #

    Hellman’s was the only mayo allowed in my house growing up. I’ve since branched out & Kraft is acceptable, but homemade is the best. Today any mayo is a rare treat reserved for special occasions. My husband’s family was strictly MW – the cheapest available. Fortunately, he learned to love mayo, and we haven’t had MW in the house for 30 years. My dear daughter finds both mayo & MW disgusting, but her hubby will eat only MW. Fortunately, my son, the chef, makes his own mayo – not a jar in sight!
    Definitely, MW is WTT.

  31. Barbara April 13, 2010 at 12:16 am #

    I like both but do prefer real mayo, Spectrum brand organic please. I first tried MW as a child when we would visit my Aunt Clara. They only used MW and tried to convince me it was mayo, and elderly couple. I grew to like it on a cheese slice and potato chip sandwich. The only thing in their house I would eat. I will eat it if that is what is available or if I am in the mood for its zest, but I never buy it.

  32. Gale April 13, 2010 at 8:24 am #

    real mayo, but it’s got to be Hellman’s. It’s the only one that ever tastes fresh.

  33. Donna in Delaware April 13, 2010 at 8:27 am #

    I, like others grew up eating Miracle Whip. Somehow, and I can’t figure it out, that changed somewhere in the ’70’s. I can remember as a child eating just Miracle whip spread on toast. I think I loved it that way because of the sweetness and I’m not sure that is still made the same way now as then, you know how that goes, sort of like Spam. The Spam today tastes nothing like it did when I was a child. My uncle had me taste Spam about 20 some years ago when I went hom for a visit, and it tasted horrible! Now it’s all mayo. I either, when I have the time, make it (not too often) or buy the mayo made in France at my health food store or it’s Hellmann’s all the way. I’m not sure if I would like the taste of Mirale Whip at this point. That was my grandmother’s condiment. The people in my family in the south, only eat Miracle Whip. My mother, brother, husband and I, only mayo. Go figure.

  34. Donna in Delaware April 13, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    RE: LISA from PA,
    OMG! Do I remember sandwich spread. We also had that for our sandwiches, but certain sandwiches. I hated it! I can’t believe that they still make that stuff! I forgot all about it. Boy does that bring back long forgotten memories. I think that we all(children and adults) hated that spread after a while. Lord, some things just never change.

  35. Donna in Delaware April 13, 2010 at 8:41 am #

    Another disgusting thing to eat is the American made Thousand Island dressing, and that orange French stuff used for salads. Real French dressing doesn’t look or taste like that. The Thousand Island taste like the pickled Sandwich spread mentioned earlier, only in liquid form and a weird pink color. The French dressing, well, I won’t even comment on that one!

  36. Donna in Delaware April 13, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    Re: This is for JUDY a ways up the page:

    Not to worry Judy. Europeans prefer to use butter on their sandwiches as a spread, or mustard for the most part. My husband is European and when I make certin sandwiches, I know that I have to use butter instead of mayo. You are not weird, you’re just not like most Americans in that respect.

  37. Kelly April 13, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    aaaaahhhhhhhhh, butter on a sandwich, eeeeeeeewwwwww!!! When I was in Paris, I kept asking if I could get my jambon et fromage sandwich “sans buerre, mais avec moutard”.

    NO luck there.

    But maybe it was my bad high school French that nixed that request.

  38. Erin April 13, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    I was raised in a mayo only family and continued the tradition with my family. I did not realize how crucial this issue is until I accidentally put MW on a sandwich in the cafeteria at work. I could not eat it and had to throw it away! Maybe I should put MW on everything – then I never eat anything and will finally lose some weight! 😉

  39. Karen April 13, 2010 at 10:53 am #

    How can anyone possibly eat a sandwich, make deviled eggs or potato salad with Miracle Whip. Mayo is just strange tasting. If i don;t have MW I won’t make a sandwich. 🙂

  40. Rodney April 13, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    It’s the sugar in Miracle Whip that makes it taste great! Bu since there is no longer any sugar in our diet,: Grapeseed Oil Vegenaise® – Best replacement for Miracle Whip I’ve found.

    A close “second place” goes to Brianna’s Blue Cheese dressing – that’s what I use on Turkey sandwiches!

  41. Kimi April 13, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

    That’s a toss up. It doesn’t matter if it’s “real” Mayo or Miracle Whip, they both are good. I’m the type that whatever tastes good (and is substantially healthy) on my food is what I’ll have. Period. : )

  42. Pat Devaney April 13, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    In my house it is Hellmann’s Mayo. In my daughter’s it is MW as her husband will only eat that. One of her daughters used to come to my house to eat rye bread with mayo.She didn’t like MW.
    But what really caught my eye was the Sandwich Spread comment from Donna! My Dad used to buy that back in the fifties. I saw it again maybe twenty years ago, but it didn’t taste the same to me either.
    As to the butter on sandwiches, my Mother used to make all the sandwiches with butter. She grew up in the country and I guess they didn’t always have mayo on hand. They made homemade mayonnaise for salad. I remember her making it sometimes when I was little.

  43. southern girl April 13, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    In my family’s part of Alabama, you knew who wasn’t from around here by the way their potato salad tasted – it didn’t have mayo. Usually Kraft or Hellmanns (homemade if it was an extra special meal). Didn’t even know what Miracle Whip was until I went off to college.

    Sigh. Don’t eat any now because of the calorie load, and trans-fat issue.

  44. Donna in Delaware April 14, 2010 at 9:52 am #

    Maria, isn’t it amazing how a little thing like sandwich spread comparisons stirs up such memories and emotions in people? This is great stuff and so good to read all of the responses from everyone! Keep up the good blogs.

  45. Joyce April 14, 2010 at 11:51 am #

    I’m for mayo all the way. As a small child I was eating at someone else’s house and I was served a baloney sandwich with Miracle Whip on it. I took one bite thought I was going to gag. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. Then, I opted to go hungry over eating that sandwich, and I feel the same way today.

  46. Amanda April 15, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    I love this conversation! It’s funny what we use to identify ourselves and how passionate we can be about it (even when it’s just a condiment!). I grew up in a Helman’s-only family, and usually prefer it to MW. But I’ve got to have MW on a bologna sandwhich.

    If you look at why MW was invented in the first place, it’s clear where the assumption comes from about folks who eat it.

    Have we gotten far enough away from the development of the product to add MW to the list of much-loved “peasant foods” having a culinary renassaince?

    Maybe it’s time to stop analyzing the “reputation” of our food and start enjoying the flavor sensations! If we were all less concerned about appearances, we’d get a heck of a lot more done!

  47. Marcia April 18, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    2 accidents that scarred me for life:
    1st – Just 2 months ago I accidentally bought “Lite” Mayo (it looks way too much like the regular). As if that wasn’t traumatic enough then
    2nd – without thinking we accidentally used it! Imagine, only half the calories with no taste whatsoever! It was like eating unsalted butter on a sandwich.
    We just looked sadly at the jar as we threw it away. Then went out an bought a Real jar of Hellmans. Ahhh.
    Sorry Miracle Whip fans.
    PS – I love “Kimi”s comment above about liking either one as long as they’re “substantially healthy”. That’s a good one! I don’t think health factors into a question about mayonnaise. I treat it like dessert – it’s a nice treat, and I deserve it! Yum!

  48. Peter Swanson April 22, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    My family used nothing but mayonnaise, and I never even heard the name Miracle Whip until I was in my teens. I did, however, inadvertently taste it long before I knew what it was.
    One evening I was at a Cub Scout barbecue at the home of my best friend, and I’d prepared my burger in my usual manner: meat, bun, and what I thought was mayonnaise. I was sitting on the low brick wall surrounding the porch when I took the first bite of my hamburger. My mouth was shocked my the most disgusting, sweet guck I had ever tasted. I spit that bite into the bushes, and dropped my burger in after it. I chose to go hungry that night. Years later I learned what that foul substance is called, and that some people actually LIKE it! I’m now 62 years old, and it is still beyond my comprehension.

  49. Christie July 21, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    I could not imagine potato salad with out my hellmans. Mircale Whip just can’t compare! Who really wants to eat a hamburger that tastes sweet. Not me

  50. miracle maude August 22, 2010 at 1:45 am #

    i HAVE to have miracle whip. i am a diverse shopper, very healthy…..brown rice, whole wheat flour, etc…….but low income so these are always generic when possible. the condiments are generic too…..ketchup, mustard, pickles, but NOT the miracle whip. it must be that brand and i LOVE that they have brought the old labels back. i was in a “mixed” marriage once and i’m sorry but it just did not work. i can be tolerant of mayonaise folks, but living with one is a whole other story. hee hee

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